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Human Connection is Something We All Need

By: Jan Wieder, Executive Vice President, Powell Communities

Adapted from original article Jan wrote here.


This weekend I spent a great deal of time either out working in my yard or taking our little dog PJ on long walks.  Like most of us, we have been asked to stay at home as we collectively do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

Governor Inslee of Washington State Addressing "Stay at Home" Extension
Up until now, I never viewed taking a walk as a time to socialize.  However, every neighbor along our walking route was out working in their yard. What normally would take us twenty minutes to circle a few blocks, now took us forty-five.  We stopped and visited with Kyle who was landscaping his side yard. He told us his plan for removing the trees and also shared how long he had to wait in line to get into Costco the other day. 

The next house was John’s.  He was out working on a new sidewalk. Gerry, my husband has been helping him on the project. I apologized to him for not accepting his dinner invite. I didn’t want to chance to be too close to his family.  

Later that afternoon, I was out working in my side yard.  My next-door neighbor was doing the same.  I finally got up enough courage and introduced myself.  She showed me her new plants and we talked about how hard it was to have the kids home all of the time due to the schools being closed.   Did I mention that Leslie has lived next door to me for over 6 years? This is the first time I said more than a hello to her.

Neighbors laying a concrete sidewalk

It seemed like everyone I spoke with was craving conversation. Being able to talk to another human being in times of uncertainty is comforting. As they shared their yard projects, the topic of how we are managing in this time of isolation always came up. They all had a story of how this quarantine was affecting them. 

I came to the realization that I am not going through this unprecedented time alone.  I have had the opportunity to make new friends as well as get to know some of my neighbors better.  I have been encouraged by the simple act of conversation with others.  Shared experiences are what bring people closer.

The next time you are walking around your neighborhood, take a few moments and start a conversation with someone you meet along the way. It is a small way of connecting that will brighten your day.

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